S.African industry questions climate change plan

Tue Nov 8, 2011 9:41am GMT

* S.Africa aims for CO2 cuts of 34 pct in decade

* Environment versus jobs big concern

By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN, Nov 8 (Reuters) - South Africa's Chamber of Mines and petrochemicals group Sasol on Tuesday expressed reservations about the country's main climate policy paper, with industry-specific reduction targets a key concern.

Released in October, the cabinet-backed climate change plan wants limits placed on carbon emissions for top polluters, who could face penalties if they do not conform to new regulations.

"Our primary concern is centred around the introduction of fixed numbers for the PPD (peak-plateau-decline), which fundamentally changes the way in which climate change policy will be implemented nationally, and is also likely to negatively impact the international negotiations," Sasol said in a presentation.

South Africa, which hosts global climate change talks in November/December, wants to cut CO2 emissions by 34 percent over the next decade but has little room to make fast changes with major employers among top polluters and its cash-strapped power sector almost fully reliant on coal.

South Africa is a relatively big producer of the greenhouse gases linked by most scientists to climate change but capping them is tough against the backdrop of widespread joblessness and glaring income disparities.

Sasol, the world's top maker of motor fuel from coal, is South Africa's second-biggest single emitter of harmful greenhouse gases, behind power utility Eskom.   Continued...

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